79th Anniversary of the Foundation of Village Institutes
Last week was the anniversary of the foundation of the Village Institutes. Hereby events were organized during April. The purpose of this short essay is to inform about reasons that prepare the foundation and aims of the institutes, and the training in the Village Institutes.
The reasons for the foundation of the Village Institutes go back to the years of the Turkish War of Independence. Mustafa Kemal, who gave special importance to education, frequently expressed his opinions about ‘good education of the people’ in those years. Because of 80% of the people living in the villages. For this reason, a number of innovations have been made in the field of education in the years following the proclamation of the Republic.
In the field of education, in the 1930s, President Atatürk's idea of training ‘instructor’ for villages is considered as the first step of the Village Institute System. After this first initiative, until 1940, four ’Village Teachers' Schools’, which were the pioneers of the Village Institutes, were opened. 10 institutes were opened in 1940, the year in which the Law on Village Institutes was accepted, and until 1948, the number of institutes reached 21. In 1943, the High Village Institute was opened in order to train teachers for Village Institutes. In the same year, health branches were opened in order to train a different kind of profession for the villages. Until 1954, when the institutes were closed, approximately 20 thousand teachers and 1600 health personnel graduated from the Village Institutes.
During the 11-year period (1935-1946) the foundation and development of the Village Institutes, the influential names were the Presidents M. Kemal Atatürk and İsmet İnönü, the National Education Ministers Saffet Arıkan and Hasan-Âli Yücel, and educator and Yücel's colleague İsmail Hakkı Tonguç, General Director of Primary Education.
Village Institutes, founded by law in April 17, 1940, are unique education institutions which have been developed by the educationists of modern Turkey. The purpose of the Village Institutes is to educate the village teachers and other professional members of the village. One of the missions of the instructors and village teachers who graduated from the institutes is also to train the people of the village.
The institutes were established in villages with arable lands. It is a model that integrates theory and practice with the concept of learning by doing. There is general culture, applied agricultural knowledge and technical studies courses in the institutes. Some of the principles that provide the success of the Village Institute System are that the subject of the system is human, that all people are values and the purpose of productivity is to create value. For example, every student studying at the institutes was reading 24 classic a year and playing a musical instrument. The study period was 5 years after primary school. The institutes were free boarding and co-educational institutions. Students who graduated at the end of 5 years were assigned to villages as teachers.
Today, Village Institutes is a practice that inspires as an original model within the history of teacher training in Turkey. In the Village Institute System, education was evaluated as a whole; it was emphasized that it is important to educate adults in addition to the education of children and young people. Therefore, it is still one of the subjects studied in the field of education and continues to be the subject of theses, articles, and research. Finally, the Village Institute System is considered as a realistic model that was implemented in the 1940s in order to provide social development in many ways and to train teachers to villages.
Altunya, N. (2005). Köy Enstitüsü Sistemine Toplu Bir Bakış. İstanbul: Kelebek Matbaası.
Türkoğlu, P. (2000). Tonguç ve Enstitüleri. İstanbul: İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları.